New Zealand-based Hashbane Interactive lands big investment boost for dinosaur game Instinction

Dinosaur game Instinction
Investor Rob Vickery also happens to be an amateur palaeontologist. Photo credit: Supplied / Hashbane Interactive

New Zealand-based independent game studio Hashbane Interactive has scored additional funding to put towards its prehistoric game Instinction.

Hillfarrance has upped its investment in the studio to $2 million, enabling the company - led by Courtney O'Neill and Jade Saunders - to enter the next stage of development.

Instinction is an action-adventure game with combat, exploration and puzzles set in a world with dangerous predators. 

This is the latest investment from Hillfarrance, an investment fund created by Rob Vickery, which has also supported other start-ups like Floating Rock, Bolster and Space Rock Games.

But Hillfarrance's managing partner has an extra connection to Instinction - he's also an amateur palaeontologist.

"With over 50 years of combined gaming experience at Hillfarrance, when we meet a team building a game that we cannot wait to play they certainly get our attention," Vickery said.

"This happened when Jade and Courtney presented what they had already accomplished with Hashbane's first title, Instinction. 

"Aside from crafting a story and gameplay demo that kept us wanting more, they had captured the imagination of millions of gamers worldwide via their launch trailer."

"Equally as impressive was their ability to build partnerships with some of the titans of the gaming industry – such as Epic and Intel," he said.

The extra money has already allowed Hashbane Interactive to recruit a storyteller with a wealth of experience to the team.

Cameron Suey, who previously worked on Marvel's Avengers, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and other game titles, has joined as a narrative designer.

Sanjay Singh has also joined the team as its lead 3D artist. His portfolio includes the role of lead creature model and sculpt artist on television show Prehistoric Planet, as well as work on other productions including Godzilla vs. Kong,  Artemis Fowl and Aquaman.

Instinction game
Photo credit: Supplied / Hashbane Interactive

O'Neill and Saunders said they were grateful to Hillfarrance for empowering them to attract the best and brightest in the industry.

"This game is a passion project and having the backing of such a powerful investment firm has given us the freedom to really invest in this game and this franchise to make it the best game we can," the pair said.

"We are incredibly excited to be leading on a new frontier for game development in New Zealand and hope that this game will show a whole new generation of potential game developers that there is opportunity and possibility within our creative industry."

Hashbane Interactive aims to recruit more skilled AAA developers from across the industry within the few months, it said.

Instinction Game
Photo credit: Supplied / Hashbane Interactive

Instinction is currently projected to release at some point in 2025, and will be available on PC, last-generation and current-generation consoles.

"We are delighted to increase our investment into Hashbane to $2m and help fund the expansion of our team to complete the next phase of game development," Vickery said.